Friday, August 31, 2012

Fertilizer Use in America

American farmers apply so much fertilizer on Midwestern corn fields that much of it ends up running off, ending up in the Mississippi River and, ultimately, reaching the Gulf of Mexico. There the copious fertilizer fuels a bloom of algae and other microscopic plants that then die. Microbes that consume the dead plants also use all the oxygen available in surrounding waters, creating a vast "dead zone" that is devoid of sea life—an unfortunate side effect of the demand for more maize.

Scientific American: Using Fertilizer Wisely Could Help Feed 9 Billion People

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